Songs are often viewed as the next stage of poetry transformation, which is reasonable given the additional opportunity for emotional expression that songs offer. Likewise, when viewed through the lens of thematic development, songs may become the tools for expanding the themes and ideas conveyed in poems. The themes of love and transience of life in Marvel’s poem and that of seduction in Donne’s “The Flea” are transformed into those of passion and need for respect in Berry’s and Stewart’s songs.
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Although the songs and the poems belong to entirely different eras, their themes are still related very closely to each other. The emotions underlying the narratives render the same need for love and excitement: “Thus, though we cannot make our sun/Stand still, yet we will make him run” (Marvell). However, Berry’s song takes the themes in question to morph them into an even more exhilarating experience. Thus, the song is filled with passion and the willingness to live in a moment as the main characters have “no particular place to go” (Berry).
Similarly, the idea of seduction and hesitation expressed in “The Flea” grow into a demand for respect in Stewart’s “We Don’t Have to.” Whereas the poem addresses the woman and portrays her as passive, thus cementing a stereotypical image of femininity, the song transforms this idea into a statement of independence. For instance, the humorous undertones of Donne’s poem slightly devalue the issue of consent: “A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead” (Donne). However, Stewart represents the described issue as a question of mutual respect. As a result, the main character and the recipient of the message switch places, which adds another nuance to the song: “I’ve got needs just like you” (Stewart). Thus, by tracking down the changes of themes in the poems and songs mentioned above, one can observe a unique metamorphosis.
Berry, Chuck. “No Particular Place to Go.” Youtube, uploaded by Ruby Magic. 2010, Web.
Donne, John. “The Flea.” 1633. PoetryFoundation.org, Web.
Marvell, Andrew. “To His Coy Mistress.” PoetryFoundation.org, Web.
Stewart, Jermaine. “We Don’t Have to.” Youtube, uploaded by JermaineStewartVEVO. 2011, Web.
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